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More from "Gloria's Book Club"

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader


I read a bunch of books while I was recovering from surgery, and I'm going to tell you about some of them. Not all of them are compelling, but at least you get a taste for my interests. (Which are a bit disturbing.) Yes, it's another round of Gloria's Book Club!

The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers: I have books on serial killers, and I wasn't too impressed with the layout of this book, but it's pretty extensive. Since I meet weird men, I want to make sure I know how to spot potential murderers, so I'm prepared. Think I'm overreacting? I used to work with a guy named Ben Blauvelt, the guy accused of murdering former IPFW professor Maurice Lam. The really scary thing: Blauvelt seemed nice and completely normal.

The Rolling Stone Interviews: This was an older collection of interviews with Truman Capote, John Lennon, Mick Jagger, Joni Mitchell and Oriana Fallaci. There's also an interview with Phil Spector, which might have been interesting if they interviewed Ronnie. This collection wasn't as interesting as I thought it would be.

Twentieth Century Teen Culture by the Decades: Talks about what teenagers did during the last hundred years or so. What they listened to, fashions, if they worked, and sexual participation. If you're writing a short story or book and want to know what the kids were like in the 1950s, this book is for you.

Sham: I discovered this while being life coached several years ago. I was looking for a book that my life coach told me to read, and while looking for it, I stumbled across Sham. This book is great for cynics like me. It pretty much exposes the self-help and actualization movement (S.H.A.M—get it?) as being a bunch of crap. Dr. Phil and Dr. Laura are not nearly as squeaky clean and perfect as they present themselves, and if you're a criminal, pretty much your best bet at “honest” work is talking about your badass past. Speaking fees are way better than working at Taco Bell, and you'll get to show off your bullet wounds.

A Stolen Life: This one was Jaycee Dugard's autobiographical memoir about her early life and being abducted. This was interesting, but the way Dugard presented her situation was a little...strange. I guess I was expecting more righteous indignation, but I have to remind myself she was a little girl when she was abducted. What would I have done in a similar situation? She makes the best of it, but early on, the repeated rape without protection makes you dread what is probably coming next. Dugard gets pregnant twice, and gives birth at home. “Home” is a series of tents and shacks in the back yard of Philip Garrido's house. There were several missed opportunities to rescue Dugard. The book doesn't smoke with hatred, which I was expecting. Dugard manages to homeschool her children, but the details of why Garrido abducted her, and the horrifying “runs,” where he cranked himself up with meth and raped her repeatedly, is pretty gross. To me, it's a miracle Dugard was healthy enough for the births, and that her daughters were delivered without any serious problems. Of the books I read during my recovery, this was disturbing on a number of levels. It's great that Dugard wasn't murdered, but it's scary that Garrido, a world-class scumbag psycho, was able to put up a privacy fence in his backyard and hold a little girl hostage for 18 years without anyone wondering what was going on. Well, I take that back. According to Wikipedia, a neighbor called 911 in 2006, but a cop showed up at Garrido's door and talked to him for 30 minutes in the front of the house and told him if there were people living out in the backyard, it was a code violation. Did the cop even walk back to check out the situation. No. Later, when Dugard was found, they issued an apology for that screw up. The cops didn't investigate until Garrido and family showed up at the UC Berkley campus trying to coordinate some event for his “God's Desire” (WTF?) program. An observant employee made some calls and that's how Garrido got caught.

So if your neighbor is putting up a privacy fence...it might not be because they want to sunbathe naked.

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